16th September 2013 – Stroke and rehabilitation unit celebrates ten years

Posted on September 16, 2013 by AireAdmin

A unit that helps provide support and rehabilitation to people recovering from strokes and other life changing conditions is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

To mark the occasion staff on the unit, which is on ward 5 at Airedale Hospital, are inviting former patients and their relatives and carers, as well as previous and current colleagues, to an open day event this weekend, Saturday 21 September, between 2pm and 5pm.

The stroke and rehabilitation unit opened 10 years ago when the physical rehabilitation unit at Skipton Hospital moved to join the stroke unit at Airedale.  Over 1,000 patients have been treated on the unit over the last ten years, some requiring rehabilitation for many weeks.

The current unit has its own therapy and treatment room and a dedicated team ranging from consultants and nurses specialising in stroke and rehabilitation medicine to physiotherapists, occupational and speech therapists.

People who have had a stroke are the main group of patients who are treated on the unit, alongside others who have had brain injuries from other causes such as trauma, subarachnoid haemorrhage or conditions affecting the spine or nerves.

Dr Andrew Catto, executive medical director and consultant stroke physician at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our role is not only to treat patients but to help them and their families manage the effects of their condition.  The time people spend on the unit means they get to know staff very well and everyone takes pleasure in the progress being made.

“Many people assume that rehabilitation means physiotherapy but are surprised to find out that other specialists are involved, such as occupational therapists, who focus on the recovery of skills needed for day to day tasks and making sure people have the right equipment to do things more easily.

“Speech therapists also look at swallowing, which can be affected after a stroke, as well as speech and understanding.”

New developments in the last ten years include use of botulinum toxin injections to treat spasticity, which is muscle tightness on the affected side after a stroke and the advance of techniques in acute stroke care which both improve survival and the level of recovery, such as thrombolysis, which must be given in the first four hours after a stroke.

One of the other bespoke aspects of the unit is a hyper acute bay where patients can be admitted directly from the Emergency Department.  It is widely recognised that when stroke patients are cared for from the beginning on a ward with staff who know about stroke and its effects, that overall outcomes are better.

In the future, the unit hopes to be able to see more patients who have had other forms of acquired brain injury and to be able to provide more community rehabilitation.

People attending the event will be able to speak to the stroke and rehabilitation team about their work as well as meet other patients and their families who have had similar experiences.  Refreshments will also be available.